The Vice President of Laos' Tourism Authority says his country is planning to improve its tourism sector to target more foreign tourists with strong purchasing power. Ambassador Vang Rattanavong also says the Authority expects with confidence that some 1.8 million tourists will have visited the country by the end of 2008, pointing out that so far this year Laos has already received more than 1.2 million visitors.
As for 2009, tourism officials say they plan to attract over
2.1 million people, and to increase that number to 2.3 million in 2010, and eventually to more than 3 million visitors by the year 2020. Authorities hope to generate revenues of over US$330 million in the service and tourist industries for 2010 and more than US$ 1 billion by 2020.
Ambassador Vang, however, denies that his country is stressing quantity over quality. He adds that in the future more emphasis will be placed on attracting tourists with high purchasing power, and to do so the tourist sector must be improved considerably and brought up to international standards.
Laos has hundreds of natural, cultural and historical tourist attraction sites, as well as 210 hotels and some 1,220 guesthouses to accommodate tourists across the country.
During 2007, Laos received over 1.6 million tourists, a 28% increase from the year before.
Listen to Songrit's report for more details in Lao.